Santa Margarita River Trail

MODERATE 714 reviews

Santa Margarita River Trail is a 5 mile moderately trafficked out and back trail located near Fallbrook, California that features a river and is rated as moderate. The trail offers a number of activity options and is accessible year-round. Dogs are also able to use this trail but must be kept on leash.

DISTANCE
5.0 miles
ELEVATION GAIN
469 feet
ROUTE TYPE
Out & Back

dogs on leash

kid friendly

hiking

horseback riding

mountain biking

nature trips

trail running

walking

forest

river

views

wild flowers

wildlife

rocky

washed out

I-15 N to Fallbrook exit. Take Mission Rd. 5 mi. E; turn N onto Pico Ave. (becomes De Luz Rd.). Continue 2.4 mi.; go R @ fork onto Sandia Creek Dr. N. Parking area is in 1 mi. (just before bridge); trailhead is E of lot.

hiking
1 day ago

Fun trail with beautiful views. Not difficult at all, but does have some tricky spots. Our dog loved it! There were also people fishing and getting photos taken while we were there. The river was why we went on this hike and we will definitely be back!

horseback riding
2 days ago

Love this trail! The water crossing are fun and nice for the horses when it’s hot. There’s plenty of shade and nice footing for your horse!

hiking
9 days ago

hiking
13 days ago

Great trail, like the other reviews said, pretty easy to start with a few slick places. Saw tons of poison oak, poison ivy and a big rattlesnake, so keep an eye out.

hiking
19 days ago

Love this trail. Beautiful along the river. And you can go further than the point on the map. Relatively easy footing(a small amount of scrambling).

hiking
21 days ago

It was a pretty easy trail. There were some narrow/rocky hills that made it a little difficult for kids/elderly people but other than that it was great. The view of the river was lovely. I would recommend going early morning so it’s not so hot. We got there around 11 and the parking lot was full so you have to wait for a car to exit to enter. Take lots of water and sunblock!

28 days ago

Very easy hike, but beautiful, relaxing and therapeutic! Great for kids!

1 month ago

Loved this trail. Definitely go early. When we were on our way out a ton of people were passing us going in. There are some narrow parts that make it difficult when trying to pass other hikers.
The view of the river is wonderful. Our 3 and 6 year old kids did good, we only did about half though.

1 month ago

Very nice walk ,more easy then moderate

horseback riding
1 month ago

Best riding trails in Southern California!

walking
1 month ago

Easy Trail Walk rather than hike... wonderful sound of water accompanies as you stroll along a walk friendly path. Ideal for kids and seniors... I would add that there are a couple of vistas (midway and at the turn around) that could serve as very romantic stops. One word of caution... pay careful attention to the parking lot closure time (7PM)... they will tow you!

hiking
1 month ago

mostly shaded, pretty stream along the trail, plenty of opportunity to make longer by veering off a number of side routes. Park benches along the way. Many people on horseback, so be aware if you bring the doggos along.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful trail! Super easy! We go when we want to get a quick easy hike in before starting a super busy day. There is the river that is just gorgeous and there are places off to the side for a quick snack break. Love this trail!

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful trail! Just watch out for the Poison Oak...there is a lot of it.

hiking
2 months ago

Beautiful hike. Not well marked.

2 months ago

So beautiful I will going again very soon

3 months ago

love this place

backpacking
3 months ago

Great starter trail for those looking to start hiking or just to get out of the house. Very family friendly and a good place to take your dogs on a walk. A little over 5 miles which has awesome features including a river. If you’re bored at home I highly recommend this trail.

hiking
3 months ago

Very pretty and relaxing trail. The views are lovely and there are many places along the river to both explore and kick back a little. We spotted some poison oak on the riverbanks, but it's easily avoidable if you keep an eye out.

hiking
3 months ago

This trail has some real beautiful views. There is a couple of parts that were rocky or felt like we were walking on a ledge but it’s so fun especially if you have kids. People go horseback riding here so it’s nice to see that.

hiking
3 months ago

If you’re looking for a good hike to see water in So Cal this is the one for you.

Easy trail with a small section that is narrow with a drop off.

hiking
4 months ago

One of the better hikes I have been on. What I love about this trail, is the wide variety of scenery you experience. It feels like 4 hikes in one...So many trails to explore.

hiking
4 months ago

Great place.

hiking
4 months ago

My dog and i very much enjoy this trail. I have gone from 2 - 8 ish miles round trip on multiple occasions. We enjoy the river and other scenery. I am not a professional hiker... and find this trail to be on the more moderate end of the easy scale. Meaning there are some areas that require a bit of skill and athleticism,but I’m def not scaling boulders with specialized gear. Do not be intimidated but be prepared. Enjoy and be safe.

hiking
4 months ago

Nice long stroll with some short steep hills and good views with plenty of shaded spots. Took us about two hours from start to the end of the trail marked by the All Trails map. Would definitely recommend for a weekend morning activity.

4 months ago

This trail is a pretty easy stroll alongside a river with a decent amount of shade. We started at 8:30am and got done at 10:30 after having stopped a bit for some drone usage. It was pretty busy as we were leaving. There are a few tricky spots on rocky areas that I would say are challenging for people with bad shoes. There is a river crossing to continue on this trail. I had to take my shoes off and walk across because the rocks were too far apart and we had quite the adventure boulder scaling on the return a little further up the river at the crossing. A lot of people we saw either turned back at that point (probably 1.75 miles in) instead of attempting to cross so keep that in mind. Overall, decent trail but not worth the drive from downtown San Diego when there are better ones out east.

4 months ago

This is a really nice, fairly easy trail. We loved walking to the sound of the water and much of the trail is shaded. There are only a couple of areas that you need to maneuver up and down some rocks (not a stroller friendly trail but still great for kids), but the majority of the hike it very easy. It was a little crowded, but we did go on a day when school was out.

hiking
5 months ago

Easy, flat, shaded hike along the creek. Very popular hike for your furry 4 legged friends.

5 months ago

Nice Sunday afternoon hike. Kid and pet friendly.

hiking
5 months ago

This was a nice trail for an easier hike. It was very peaceful with the water sounds and having shade a large portion of the trail. We saw a coyote on the trail and a beautiful blue jay . We did a few offshoots so made it 6 miles. The loose dirt made it very dirty for the shoes and feet - never seen my feet to dirty after a hike.

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